Mud season is running late this year, and trails are particularly dangerous to hikers and vulnerable to damage. Prepare accordingly and only select certain trails at this time.
Late Season Snow = Muddy, Icy Trails
Because of the late season snow in our region mud season is running longer than usual, particularly the farther north you go, and in higher elevations. The DEC has officially issued a Muddy Trail Advisory that asks hikers to be cautious and to postpone hikes on trails above 2,500 feet until they’ve dried and hardened.
North-facing trails have retained snow and ice. Despite the recent warm weather, high elevation backcountry trails are still covered in slowly melting ice and snow. These steep trails feature thin soils that become a mix of ice and mud as winter conditions melt and frost leaves the ground.
Hike Safely & Smartly During the Mud Advisory
The remaining ice and snow on trails is rotten, slippery, and won’t reliably support weight. These “monorails” are difficult to hike on and the adjacent rotting snow is prone to postholing. Severe damage of the trail is possible at this time, as hikers can struggle to gain traction on loose, saturated soils.
Help to minimize damage by avoiding trails above 2,500 feet. Stick to lower elevation trails close to home, and enjoy other forms of recreation like paddling and fishing. If you do encounter mud on trails, hike through it and not around it. This protects trailside vegetation, minimizes damage, and reduces the widening of trails.
Please Avoid These High Elevation Trails
The DEC is asking us to stay off the following trails:
High Peaks Wilderness: All trails above 2,500 feet where wet, muddy, and snowy conditions still prevail, specifically Algonquin, Colden, Feldspar, Gothics, Indian Pass, Lake Arnold Cross-Over, Marcy, Marcy Dam/Avalanche Pass/Lake Colden (this area is extremely wet), Phelps Trail above Johns Brook Lodge, Range Trail, Skylight, Wright, all “trail-less” peaks, and all trails above Elk Lake and Round Pond in the former Dix Mountain Area.
Giant Mountain Wilderness: All trails above Giant’s Washbowl, “the Cobbles,” and Owl Head Lookout.
McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: All trails above 2,500 feet where wet, muddy, and snowy conditions still prevail, specifically Whiteface, Esther, Moose, and McKenzie Mountains.
Sentinel Range Wilderness: All trails above 2,500 feet where wet, muddy, and snowy conditions still prevail, specifically Pitchoff Mountain.
Hikers are encouraged to explore lower elevation trails close to home, and to enjoy other forms of recreation like paddling and fishing.